Like many of the outer boroughs of New York City, Brooklyn once stood in the shadow of its much more popular neighbor, Manhattan. In recent years, Brooklyn has gathered up steam as a center for arts, culture, nightlife and historical centerpieces that make the borough unique.
Exploring the distinct neighborhoods of Brooklyn is a magnificent way to understand how locals outside of Manhattan live, and to get a feel of a part of New York City that is no longer overlooked. Coney Island embraces its historical past and eccentric present. The neighborhood sits at the southern edge of Brooklyn and boasts a famous boardwalk and beach along the Atlantic Ocean.
Coney Island was once a popular vacation destination for New Yorkers in the 1800’s and early 1900’s, with many amusement parks and hotels established in the sea side neighborhood. Although much of the original rides and games are no longer standing, a few legendary rides still remain.
The Cyclone is a cherished Brooklyn icon and is one of the only remaining wooden roller coasters still be used in the United States. Along with the legendary Cyclone, the Wonder Wheel and Parachute Jump are both Coney Island treasures that people can still visit today. Taking a walk along the boardwalk and getting a hot dog at the original Nathan’s is sure to bring a sense of nostalgia in this Brooklyn area.
Located on the opposite end of the borough is one of Brooklyn’s most lively neighborhoods, Williamsburg. Just minutes away from Manhattan, Williamsburg is the epicenter of hip and trendy restaurants and bars. This neighborhood is popular among artists and musicians, creating an area rich with nightlife, concerts, and art.
Dozens of restaurants line the main drag of Bedford Avenue, as well as many of the side streets. Famous restaurants in the area include Fatty Cue where Malaysian cuisine is served and Fette Sau BBQ, a popular spot for delicious food. Nightlife in Williamsburg is nothing short of exciting as a plethora of bars have opened over recent years.
Anything from outdoor bars to venues with live music are constantly buzzing with Brooklyn adrenaline. For those who want a bit of history while having some drinks, visit Brooklyn Brewery for local beer and a tour of the brewhouse. In the heart of Brooklyn lies Park Slope, often considered one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in the borough for its brownstone lined streets.
An old world charm can be seen strolling through this neighborhood because of its abundance in architectural details dating from the 1800’s. Brownstones are widely seen throughout other neighborhoods as well, including Brooklyn Heights, Bedford Stuyvesant, Fort Greene and Cobble Hill.
Brooklyn’s largest park, Prospect Park, is located in the Park Slope neighborhood. It is a great spot to enjoy a relaxing day away from hectic city life and often hosts a variety of concerts throughout the summer. Park Slope also has a large selection of fine dining, including popular restaurants such as Applewood, Al Di La and Blue Ribbon. 5th and 7th Avenues are lined with restaurants, bars, and boutiques that showcase the lifestyle in this neighborhood.
Millions of people call Brooklyn home, including celebrities such as Woody Allen, Barbara Streisand, Jay-Z and Eddie Murphy who all once lived in Brooklyn. Many international countries have created their own vibrant communities throughout Brooklyn. Brighton Beach is a thriving Russian community, while people from Latin American countries make Sunset Park unique.
Rich Italian history can be seen in Bay Ridge and Bensonhurst. A large Chinese population has settled in areas of Bensonhurst and near Sunset Park as well. The combination of these communities has made Brooklyn a diverse home to many where their cultures and cuisine are easily accessible.
It comes as no surprise that Manhattan’s neighboring borough has stepped into its own spotlight. With its ever growing popularity and distinct neighborhoods, visiting Brooklyn is like diving into international cultures and centuries of history just by crossing over the Brooklyn Bridge.
littleny / Shutterstock.com